We have all experienced that situation in sales where a prospect just goes dark. They don’t return our calls or emails. Maybe they have already done the dirty deed “get the message and just go away”.
There are at least two problems with this … I’m not sure if you have actually pulled the trigger with someone else or if you are just dragging your heels. As a friend of mine says … “My second best answer is ‘No’”. At least it is an answer and not knowing is unacceptable.
Well, I can tell you that I have secured many a deal simply because I was the last man standing. Other times, I have lost the sale but, I have managed to set the stage for the next opportunity and/or receive a referral to another prospect (they feel bad for going with someone else and giving me a referral makes them feel better).
No … you will need to tell me to go away and you will need to tell me why. Because, if I really want you, I won’t until you do. If you have done your job, you have earned the right to know. Of course, if you have done a lousy sales job … mosey on.
I choose “B”
The goal has to be to stay “top of mind” while at the same time moving the deal forward. There are two ways to do this …
A – You can repeatedly call and email and leave messages like … “Just checking in to see if you are ready?” or …
B – You can mix your touches up with a pre-planned arsenal of social engagements combined with traditional outreach.
I choose … B. If you are wondering what A sounds like … you are also a customer and you have heard these plenty of times so … don’t do them. Each of your encounters should be designed to provide unique items of value for your potential customer.
I simply cannot stress this enough. If you are not providing value, and this includes personalization … then don’t do it at all! We all get enough junk mail and spammy email already and you will likely be doing your cause, and yourself, more harm than good.
A word (or two) about CRM
I am a strong believer in CRM and not because the company makes me use one. I want to use one for me. Furthermore, as sophisticated as CRM is these days, if you can discipline yourself to do two simple things only, your sales will skyrocket!
- Take notes after every customer related activity and review those notes prior to your next engagement. These would be notes kept in the contact records in your CRM, not post it notes in some ratty manilla folder.
- Set reminders for your next engagement and pre-plan what that engagement will be. Leverage your CRM to keep you on track.
That’s it and it’s that simple!
So, what do we have to work with? There are both traditional, and social, taps (“Hey! I’m still here!” and touches (direct outreach designed to encourage two-way engagement otherwise known as conversations).
Regardless, the actual act of selling remains P2P (person to person) so, for cripes sake … please do not try to sell, let alone close, someone over the phone! This is the lazy man’s approach and it is rarely successful. I get that, due to geographic restrictions this is not always possible but, where possible, get nose-to-nose.
Phone – Have a purpose for your call (schedule face-time) and think about it before you make it. I’m not fond of leaving messages but, I might ask someone to tell that person that I called and that I will call back later at a specific time. People rarely return messages these days anyway and I’m too impatient to wait around for them.
Email – People responding to emails may be an even worse bet than them returning your voicemails. I would suggest that you at least use tools like Boomerang that can track opens and link clicks. At least this way you will know if they have even opened your message and, if yes, this signals a good time to try to connect directly.
Drop-by – Stopping by, unannounced, is a highly personalized approach that does demonstrate that you are serious. Will you actually get to see that person? Maybe and maybe not. This is interruption selling so be prepared to leave something of value … if nothing else, donuts and, preferably good ones from a decent bakery.
Mail – Like anything else, the trick with mail is to get them to open it. I prefer the one-two punch where your message them ahead of time and tell them to expect it.
These are available in some form on most, if not all, social networks. It is, however, important that they be done on your client’s social network of choice. I know a large number of people, important people, who cannot be raised by any traditional approach but, they will reply immediately to a text or social direct message.
@ message, like, retweet, or share forward – In terms of progressive engagement, these are the simplest and fastest ways to reach out and tap someone on the shoulder just to let them know that you are thinking about them and, conversely, to get them thinking about you.
DM, private message, or text– Unlike the aforementioned, a direct message will generally invite a response. I would call this a touch.
Media – Video and slides do stand out and they are easy to make by yourself. I think that most people will respect something that you have created, warts and all, versus a slick production. For videos, even your phone will work. For cheap screencasts, you can even use Jing (free) or I happen to like Screencast-O-Matic (free/paid).
Share an article – Whether or not content is king may be up for discussion but, it can be powerful! A quality article, one that you know that they will find to be of value, is a great engagement. Be sure to select these that are specific, and pertinent, to their business and their needs.
Provide a social introduction or opportunity – What’s better than donuts (even good ones)? Money in the form of business opportunities or introductions. When you help them to sell their wares, you will be quickly elevated from the status of vendor to and you will be viewed as a part of their team.
If all else fails, and this is a risk that you are willing to take, tell them that you are going away. This works more often than you might think. Of course, be sure to let them know how much you have appreciated the opportunity and how disappointed you are that they won’t be able to take advantage of your offering.
Think of this as a modified take away close. People often don’t want something until they perceive that maybe they can’t have it. Regardless, this doesn’t have to be the end of this sale anyway. You might be going Columbo (feign defeat only to return).
Goodbye, adios, arrivederci!
This will be my last article for Maximize Social Business. It has been my great honor and my privilege to write for this site since it’s inception. While nobody has told me to go away, it’s time for some new blood. I am beginning my slide into retirement but, before I go, there are certainly some people that I want to thank!
Neal Schaffer, who owns this site, was the first person to invite me to write for a larger audience. In choosing me, I suspected that maybe he had been dropped on his head as a baby:) I was flattered yet apprehensive. After all, I never set out to be a writer. I decided to approach this opportunity as a part of my development
Neal has been both a mentor and a friend. We have done webinars together and he wrote the prefaces for both my book and my eBook (both bucket list items). I have learned sooooo much from him and will be forever grateful. He opened doors that I never expected might exist.
I have also been able to meet, and form long-lasting relationships, with many of the excellent writers on this site who, in turn, have also become my mentors! Everything I have learned has come from watching and emulating those who are smarter than I am and they have proven to be quite easy to find 🙂
Most importantly, there is you … the reader! Thanks so much for putting up with my musings! Thank you all again! Now go sell something! (drop the mic, Craig … out)